April 2, 2020, 5:46


Mexican GP Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo claims shock pole

Mexican GP Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo claims shock pole

Daniel Ricciardo stunned Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen by stealing pole position for Sunday’s Mexican GP.

Lewis Hamilton, who only needs five points to clinch a fifth world championship, was third fastest and will start alongside title rival Sebastian Vettel on the second row.

Sunday’s race starts at 7.10pm, exclusively live on Sky Sports F1.

How Hamilton can win the title in Mexico
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Qualifying results in full

Verstappen had been in dominant form up until the final moments of qualifying when Ricciardo suddenly uncorked his best lap of the weekend to pip the Dutchman by less than a tenth of a second.

Verstappen, who topped every practice session, would have become the youngest driver to claim pole position had he prevailed.

“The whole qualifying was c***,” a stony-faced Verstappen rued. “I had a lot of rear locking, on the down-shifting and when I come off throttle. Somehow the behaviour was not correct.”

A jubilant Ricciardo said: “I knew it was there somewhere. I knew the pace was in the car, Max showed that all weekend from start to finish…I gotta relax a little, I’m tripping major nutsack right now.”

Verstappen had secured provisional pole position at the start of Q3 before Ricciardo’s late burst secured the Australian a a farewell pole position before his departure to Renault and Red Bull’s first front-row lockout since USA 2013.

“All eyes have been on Verstappen, he’s dominated all the sessions but when it mattered most, Ricciardo delivered,” concluded Sky F1’s Martin Brundle.

How Ricciardo beat Verstappen to pole

2:53

Sky F1's Paul di Resta looks at how Daniel Ricciardo beat Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to pole position for the Mexican GP.

Expect first-lap fireworks in Mexico
Verstappen rues costly car problems

Mercedes and Ferrari straight into the fight on Sunday?
Red Bull, revelling in the high altitude conditions which equalise engine performance, set the tone for the weekend on Friday when they comprehensively outpaced Mercedes and Ferrari in practice.

Although the red and silver cars reduced the deficit in Saturday morning practice and the early stages of qualifying, Red Bull remained a class apart in the final reckoning.

But such is the superior straight-line speed of Mercedes and, in particular, Ferrari that both Verstappen and Ricciardo face intense pressure at the start of Sunday’s race.

“Hamilton and Vettel on the second row, side by side, with more straight-line speed than the Red Bulls in front of them – they’re going to turn up into braking zone into Turn One four abreast I reckon,” predicted Brundle.

In last year’s race, Hamilton clashed with Vettel off the line, but the Mercedes driver is eyeing an aggressive start on Sunday.

“You saw what happened last year with the red car behind,” said Hamilton. “It really depends how we get away but third place is a nice place to start here, you get a good tow from the guys up ahead. I’m going to fighting to at least gain a position but of course I’m aware of the Bulls up ahead.”

How Hamilton can win title in Mexico

  • If Vettel wins in Mexico, Hamilton must finish seventh
  • If Vettel is second or lower in Mexico, Hamilton is world champion

Williams and McLaren fall early again
In a frantic end to Q1, both Haas cars fell at the first hurdle, while the wretched struggles of fallen superpowers Williams and McLaren continued.

For the 11th time in 2018, the Williams cars of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin were eliminated in the first segment of Qualy, while Stoffel Vandoorne was beaten by McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso – a plight which has befallen the Belgian, leaving F1 for Formula E at the end of the year, in every qualifying session of a relentlessly grim season.

Mexican GP Qualifying Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:14.759
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:14.785
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:14.894
4) Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:14.970
5) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.160
6) Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.330
7) Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:15.827
8) Carlos Sainz Renault 1:16.084
9) Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:16.189
10) Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:16.513
Out in Q2
11) Esteban Ocon Force India 1:16.844
12) Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:16.871
13) Sergio Perez Force India 1:17.167
14) Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:17.184
15) Pierre Gasly * Toro Rosso No time set
Out in Q1
16) Romain Grosjean * Haas 1:16.911
17) Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:16.966
18) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:17.599
19) Lance Stroll Williams 1:17.689
20) Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:17.886
* Both Grosjean and Gasly face grid penalties

Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.

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